Francis Collins is one of the world’s leading scientists. He has been the longtime head of the Human Genome Project, the groundbreaking international effort to map and sequence all of the human DNA and then determine its functions. The Project is widely considered the most significant scientific undertaking of our time. A devout religious believer, Dr. Collins brings a unique perspective on the compatibility of science with religion, which he explores in his recent book The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief.
In this conversation with D.J. Grothe, Francis Collins details the potential benefits of recent advances in the field of genetics, explores the question of whether or not religious belief negatively impacts a scientist’s research, and talks about his journey from atheism to devout believer. He talks about the comforts that religion brings to a believer, and how the question of the origins of morality was central to his religious conversion. He also offers challenges to recent arguments against belief in God, to “fundamentalist atheism,” and to atheistic bias among the scientific community, while also offering “theistic evolution” as an alternative to both atheistic evolution and Intelligent Design creationism.